Over the past 3 years, the UW-Extension Community Food Systems Team has sponsored a tour highlighting innovative local food projects and businesses in the region in which the WLFN Summit has been held: Ashland (2013), Milwaukee (2014), and Wisconsin Rapids (2015)! This year we are once again thankful that UW-Extension will host a local food system tour in Sheboygan at the 2016 WLFN Summit.

BUT there have been some major improvements to the tour – first of all, there will be two different tours offered this year. And secondly, the tours will be happening during the Summit as optional breakout sessions instead of the day prior to the Summit.

In the past, the tours have occurred the day prior to the Summit, but after hearing several requests to hold the tour during the conference to increase accessibility – we have decided to integrate the tours into the 2016 Summit agenda. One tour will be held on Thursday and one on Friday.  Please note that they are different and that you need to register for either or both tours when you register for the Summit via brown paper tickets. Below are further details on both tours.

Tour #1 Thursday Jan 14th: Innovations in Agricultural Production Tour
Duration: 9:30 – noon

  1. Lake Orchard Farm B&B and Aquaponics. Dating back to 1848, Lake Orchard Farm is a sixth generation homestead, orchard, dairy and now emerging aquaponics farm producing year round fish & vegetables through a technique which is more water & energy efficient than traditional methods.Come see how they are weaving together agri-tourism and aquaponic production along with traditional farming.
  2. Artesian Fresh Farm. Artesian Fresh uses hydroponic techniques to grow forage for their dairy herd. Using similar techniques, Artesian Fresh produces a wide variety of culinary sprouts and microgreens for retail and restaurant sales. We will learn first hand how this unique mix of growing livestock forage and delicious food for local restaurants is a successful agricultural production strategy.

Tour #2 Friday Jan 15th: Food Systems Youth Engagement and Education Tour
Duration: 8:45 – 11:45

  1. Plymouth HS Food Science & Ag Center. Completed in 2015 this high school Food and Ag Center offers a diverse array agricultural and related courses in a modern facility providing students with better skills needed by local enterprises and entrepreneurs.  En route to Lakeshore Culinary Institute, we will tour historic downtown Plymouth home of the National Cheese Exchange building and replicas of historic murals celebrating the local food industry.
  2. Lakeshore Culinary Institute. The Lakeshore Culinary Institute is a part of the Lakeshore Technical College, and is more than just a place of education. in addition to offering students a state of the art facility to develop culinary skills, this institute is also a fully operating restaurant, giving students first-hand experience. We will learn about the Youth Apprenticeship Program which allows high school students the opportunity to explore future careers while getting paid.

Like the sound of these tours??? Then go register for the 2016 WLFN Summit!

Interested in finding out more about the 2016 WLFN Summit Schedule?  Check out the 2016 Summit Schedule here!